DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Philippe Falardeau
Reese Witherspoon, Corey Stoll, Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal
Writing Credits:
Margaret Nagle

Miracles are made by people who refuse to stop believing.

Sudanese refugees given the chance to resettle in America arrive in Kansas City, Missouri. where their encounter with an employment agency counselor forever changes all of their lives.

Box Office:
$20 million.
Opening Weekend
$841,422 on 461 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 110 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 12/23/2014

• “The Good Lie Journey” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


The Good Lie [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 15, 2014)

After keeping something of a low profile for a while, Reese Witherspoon popped up more actively via a mix of 2014 releases. For one of these, we head to a fact-based drama called The Good Lie.

As a text prologue tells us, a 1983 civil war in Sudan laid waste to much of the country. Within a few years, many orphaned children would cross sub-Saharan Africa on foot to attempt to traverse up to 1000 miles to find new homes. Years later, about 3600 of these children – dubbed “The Lost Boys of Sudan” – wound up in the United States.

Lie follows the lives of four friends who land in the US. Initially we meet them in 1987, as they travel in pursuit of homes, and then they spend 13 years in a Kenyan refugee camp.

We see them as adults in 2000, still in the camp. They win a lottery to move to the USA, and in spring 2001, we go along with Mamere (Arnold Oceng), Jeremiah (Ger Duany), Paul (Emmanuel Jal) and Abital (Kuoth Wiel). Mamere’s sister Abital ends up separated from the other three, as she gets placed in Boston while they head to Kansas City.

When the guys arrive in Missouri, they find themselves chaperoned by Carrie Davis (Witherspoon), a staff member at the employment agency tasked to find them jobs. Initially Carrie shows little interest in this activity but she eventually becomes their advocate. We trace how the guys adjust and related areas.

Going into Lie, I worried about two potential pitfalls. First, I feared the movie would focus on Carrie to the exclusion of much else. Often films of this sort emphasize the white characters, presumably to make them more palatable to US audiences. The publicity for Lie strongly pushes Witherspoon’s presence, so it became logical to think she’d dominate the tale.

In addition, I felt concerned that Lie would give us a soppy, sentimental take on its subjects. I thought it might dumb down the material, treat the characters as stereotypes and wrap it up in a perky little bow.

Happily, Lie avoids both of those possible problems. In terms of Witherspoon’s involvement, Lie doesn’t turn into a Blind Side situation where the noble white woman dominates. Witherspoon gets a significant role but she remains in a supporting capacity, as the movie focuses on the Sudanese parts where it belongs.

Lie also manages a surprisingly subtle, unsentimental view of its subject matter. Not that it goes down a chilly, “objective” path, but it feels much less goopy than I anticipated.

As a result, it comes by its emotion in a natural manner and earns our attachment. Rather than tug our heartstrings in a maudlin, obvious manner, Lie draws us in with its well-developed characters and lets us bond with them. We get a good picture of the challenges the Sudanese experience and care for them without too much manipulation from the filmmakers.

All involved deliver solid performances. Those who portray the Sudanese characters feel real – which seems logical since some of them actually went through experiences like those depicted here – and the various Americans pull off their roles well. Witherspoon gives Carrie snap but doesn’t overdo the part and depicts her growth in a logical manner.

In the end, Lie delivers a satisfying inspirational drama. It avoids most of the issues that often mar films of this sort to become a winning and emotional tale.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

The Good Lie appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. At all times, this became a strong visual presentation.

Sharpness satisfied. Little to no softness appeared, so the flick was accurate and concise. I noticed no shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. I also failed to discern any print flaws.

Colors depended on the setting. African scenes tended toward an amber/orange feel, while segments in the USA looked colder and more desaturated. Within various stylistic choices, the hues seemed appropriate. Blacks were deep and rich, and low-light shots gave us good smoothness and delineation. Across the board, this was a high-quality image.

In terms of the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it came with more involvement than I’d expect from a drama due to the war scenes in Africa. Those didn’t pop up frequently, but they used the five channels to immerse us in brief moments of violence and the mix was able to convey the experiences of the characters.

Otherwise the audio tended toward general ambience. Outside of the war scenes, the movie didn’t come with many sequences that needed to open up the spectrum, so they stayed with environmental material and not much more. That suited the story’s needs.

Audio quality was perfectly acceptable. Speech showed nice clarity and naturalism, and music was reasonably distinctive and dynamic. Effects lacked much to stand out, but they appeared accurate, and they showed punch when necessary. All of this seemed good enough for a “B“.

Two extras pop up here. The Good Lie Journey runs 16 minutes, 19 seconds and offers notes from producers Ron Howard, Karen Kehela Sherwood, Brian Grazer, Trent Luckinbill and Molly Smith, screenwriter Margaret Nagle, director Philippe Falardeau, casting director Mindy Marin, executive producer Kim Roth, and actors Reese Witherspoon, Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal, and Nyakuoth Wiel. The program looks at the real-life story behind the movie, cast, characters and performances, what Falardeau brought to the tale and locations. Much of the piece remains pretty promotional and general, but we do get some interesting details about the Sudanese actors.

15 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 15 minutes, six seconds. These provide additional character moments, with an emphasis on Mamere. We see more of his pursuit of med school as well as aspects of his social life and his trip back to Africa. A smattering of other tidbits also show up to bring a but more development to some roles. These deliver some interesting moments.

The disc opens with ads for Dolphin Tale 2 and Hillsong: Let Hope Rise. No trailer for Lie shows up here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Lie. It includes the deleted scenes but not the “Journey” featurette.

A warm, effective inspirational drama, The Good Lie works due to its lack of overt sentiment. Instead, it remains understated and wins us over with quality character portraits. The Blu-ray presents excellent visuals and good audio but it skimps on bonus materials. Color me impressed by this effective effort.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
1 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main